VICTORIA, BC — This year more than ever, people are hoping for a bright and joyful holiday. What better place to find that than across the border in Victoria, BC.
There are so many wonderful things about Christmas in Victoria. The whole ambiance is full of lights. It's really festive and warm and inviting.
If you take the Victoria Clipper, you can set foot on Vancouver Island in less than three hours.
"You'll see some beautiful scenery on your way up," assures Meredith Tall, Clipper's Founder and Chair. "You've got the Olympic Mountains on your left and as you go up past Whidbey Island, you'll start to feel like you're really on a fun cruise."
Once you arrive, you'll find that there's no shortage of holiday activities around town, including the Festival of Trees, and FREE horse-drawn carriage rides. Plus, with the current exchange rate, it's the perfect place to do some holiday shopping.
But you'll find that once the sun goes down, the night sky reveals the biggest highlight of all: the tens of thousands of lights at Butchart Gardens.
"We have the seasons that everyone else has, but we consider Christmas a season unto itself because it's such an extensive display and it's very much set apart from the other seasons," says Butchart Gardens' Daphne Gardner.
Walking through the gardens, you'll see each of the twelve days of Christmas, hear the holiday band, and even take a spin on the ice skating rink.
"It's the perfect opportunity to bring the family and start new traditions, or continue a tradition that's lasted for many years for many families," says Gardner.
The garden's light display runs through January 6 and tickets run $3.00 for children 5-12, $13.70 for youth aged 13-17, and $27.40 for adults 18+.
Hopping aboard the Clipper for the return trip is a breeze -- or, for a change of scenery, take advantage of Clipper Vacation's Sea and SkyPackage.
"You get to look down and see a lot of stuff you wouldn't get to see if you were driving or if you were in a boat," explains Kenmore Air's chief pilot Chuck Perry.
Even if you've been to Victoria at Christmas time, the holiday magic you'll experience is definitely worth another visit.
"You know, I think that's true about Christmas," says Gardner. "You know, you remember things from the previous year you know that you've forgotten, and it just brings it all back and it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling."